Apple Pressing Party

 
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Chris: I’ve been brewing hard cider for many years, but have switched to other brews in recent years because I haven’t been able to find any good unfiltered juice for the $4/gallon that it used to go for during the fall.  However, I have been long intrigued by the thought of starting the brewing process earlier by pressing my own juice, and so I decided to try to beat the market by pooling resources with some friends, buying about 1/3 ton of apples, and hosting what I ended up calling an old fashioned apple pressing party and potluck.  We had a great time and learned a lot about apples and apple presses, especially the part about why good apple juice no longer costs $4/gallon.


Apple Pressing Party

So I went about collecting juice orders from about 10 friends, and tried my best to guess at how many apples would be required to hit the 40-45 gallons that we all wanted.  Based on a number that turned out to be way off base, that came to 630 pounds.  After factoring in the cost of renting a cider press and crusher from a local brewing supply store, I guessed that it would cost somewhere around $8 per gallon, which sounded pretty reasonable compared to the $12-15 that organic unfiltered apple juice can cost in the store, especially if I could also pick the kinds of apples that were going into the juice (Honeycrisp are Jessica’s favorite).  Too bad my information and my math were wrong. Continue reading

Seattle Chocolate Salon 2009

 
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Reviews of chocolates and other products presented at the 2009 Seattle Chocolate Salon by Oh! Chocolate, Theo Chocolates, Forte Chocolates, L’Estasi Dolce, Choffy, Eat Chocolates, Carter’s Chocolates, La Châtelaine Chocolat, Chocolopolis, Divine Chocolate, I Love Chocolate Jewelry, Posh Chocolat, Crave Chocolate, Amano Chocolate, Intrigue Chocolates, Suess Chocolates and William Dean Chocolates.

Eat Chocolate at the 2009 Seattle Chocolate Salon

I had the really good fortune to check my email shortly after a message showed up from Foodbuzz offering the first two Featured Publishers to respond a ticket to attend the Seattle Chocolate Salon on their behalf. (This was back in mid-July–did I really start writing this post a over a month ago? Fortunately, chocolate never goes out of style, but I still want to give FoodBuzz a big thank you for being kind and patient with an exhausted and preoccupied pregnant foodie!)

My fortune wasn’t favorable just because I got a free ticket; Chris attended as my trusty photographer and we both felt that the experience was well worth the $20 he spent to get in. No, I also count myself lucky because if it hadn’t been for that email, I never would have known about the event at all. I don’t know if I live under a rock or what, but the only other place I’ve seen a mention of the event was in another food blog after I already had scored myself a ticket. To make matters worse, in the days leading up to the Salon, I felt a bit confused by the layout and wording of the site, and was unsure exactly what kind and quality of event I was going to be attending. So even if I had found out about it another way, if I hadn’t had that ticket already, I’m not sure the website would have convinced me to go.

Which would have been a huge shame, because the event itself was all kinds of awesome. Several different varieties of awesome, in fact, that far exceeded both of our expectations. Continue reading

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Three Types of Ganache

 
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Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Three Ganaches

Tres leches, move over. There’s a new cake in town with three iterations of the same component: tres (or maybe it should be trois?) ganaches chocolate raspberry cupcakes. Sounds decadent, right? Well, they were. Decadent, extravagant, and definitely delicious…if possibly slightly unnecessarily complicated.

Not only that, but I used expensive eating chocolate for all of them. Bars and bars of the $3-$5 for two frickin’ ounces kind of eating chocolate. Valrhona raspberry ganache fills both the raspberry inside the cupcake and the one on top. Around the interior raspberry is a Scharffen Berger ganache. Finally, Michel Cluizel ganache frosting swirled on top crowns it all. The only reason I said that it was possibly unnecessary was that while eating the cupcake it wasn’t necessarily apparent that there were three different chocolates in play. But you definitely could tell that the chocolate involved was really, really good chocolate. Continue reading